EASY MONEY FOR EASY JET
“We feel we have been “conned” by EasyJet and that after having explained everything to the Chief Executive of EasyJet, Carolyn McCall, to no avail the only means we have to get a full refund is to take EasyJet to court.” Eric & Marie Lane of Dedalus
Dedalus was invited to a Polish Study Trip for Publishers to Krakow. The only direct flights were by RyanAir and EasyJet and we have used neither airline in the past. RyanAir has a negative reputation with passengers scrambling for seats, not something we wanted to have to do as I have angina and suffer from claustrophobia and Marie suffers from migraines. Looking at the airline web sites, we thought that by travelling with EasyJet we would be able to get reserved seats as their Flexi Fare promised: Priority boarding, choose your favourite seats and ensure you’re seated with your group. Booking on their website a big red tick came up against these promises (and the confirmation we printed out contains them) but when we got to the end of the booking nothing appeared about seat reservations as with other airlines, so we rang up EasyJet straight away. We spoke to Mark, agent 40400 and it became clear that EasyJet could not guarantee that we would be able to choose our favourite seats or sit together at all. All it did do was to let us go through the gates first, not on to the plane but onto a bus where we could well be the last people out if we were first on. This was not what I thought we were paying extra money for.
So we tried to cancel.EasyJet’s agent, Mark, initially said we could cancel but would have to pay a 25% cancellation fee even though our booking was made only 10 minutes before and only made because of highly misleading representations made by EasyJet on their website. When we did not accept this and said we would try and get our credit card company to stop the payment, Mark told us if we did that we might not be able to travel with EasyJet again in the future, to which I replied we would not want to travel with them under any circumstances. Mark then refused to cancel the reservation so we ended up paying £740.94 for 3 flights to Krakow which we did not take.
The protection we thought we had by using a credit card did not exist as our bank, NatWest, not only would not stop our payment but would not even raise the matter with EasyJet as a disputed transaction. It would appear rather than caring about us as their customers NatWest did not want to upset EasyJet, or perhaps it was too much work for them. It certainly disabused us about the advantage of paying by credit card and gave us an even lower opinion of NatWest if such a thing is possible!
We wrote to the Chief Executive of Easy Jet, Carolyn McCall, having found the airline’s address from Companies House – neither EasyJet’s postal address or nor its emails appear on its website. EasyJet do their best to make it as difficult as possible to make a complaint. The email reply we received, reproduced below, seems to glorify in their cleverness in misleading us and states that a full refund is not possible as everyone else who has been similarly misled in the past did not get one. We were again offered a 75% refund. For us this did not change anything. We had been “ripped off” but the amount concerned had been reduced.
It is clear that EasyJet makes these misleading statements on its website to induce bookings and make money. The company is aware that the representations they make are misleading as others have been similarly misled but they don’t change them and they will continue misleading people until they are challenged. This is why we are challenging EasyJet as it profoundly wrong in principle that wrongdoers profit from their wrongdoing and continue to do so.
As an ironic footnote to this tale, the third member of our party who did not mind how he travelled, flew with RyanAir from Stansted. He was able to get a seat reservation on the plane to and from Krakow and was given priority getting on to the plane at both airports and the cost of the journey was less than EasyJet’s Flexi ticket.
The moral of this story is you get what you pay for with RyanAir and with EasyJet, well that is another story…
Our Reference: 120523-003296
Booking Reference: EK1MRLH
7th June 2012
Dear Eric and Marie
I work in the Executive Support area of the business and handle the correspondence sent to Carolyn McCall, our Chief Executive Officer. Carolyn is out of the office for the most of this week and has asked me to respond on her behalf.
I am very sorry to learn that you are having a bad experience with easyJet at the moment and that the entire situation affected your visit to Krakow.
I read your letter with genuine concern and wanted to investigate the situation you have described before I sent a comprehensive reply.
I completely understand the reasons why you both wanted to choose a flight that offered seat reservations. I am sorry however that you feel aggrieved with the costs involved to cancel your flight booking.
As you are aware, easyJet is primarily a non-refundable airline. Our cancellation policy dictates that you will need to pay a cancellation fee if you cancel within 24 hours and after this point no amount will be refunded. This policy is detailed clearly in our Terms & Conditions, which our customers accept when making a booking.
I can confirm that our Flexi Fare option does not state that our passengers can ‘beat the queues, choose your favourite seat, ensure you’re seated with your group’. As you made your booking online, you will have noticed that in stage two of the booking process it clearly states that our customers can be ‘among the first on the plane’ to then have the opportunity to ‘beat the queues’ and ‘choose your favourite seat’. There is no wording included that you are guaranteed a seat on the fare you purchased. You also have the option to click on ‘how does it work?’ where it states ‘with Speedy Boarding, you will be called first at the gate, so you can board early and choose your favourite seat.’
In light of the above, I am unable to process a full refund of £740.94. However, our Agent has applied the 24hr cancellation policy and offered you a refund of £560.94 which is the full amount paid minus a cancellation fee. I am still able to process this for you.
You are both valued customers of easyJet and I can assure you that easyJet is an airline that believes very much in integrity and honesty. We do our very best to make our booking process and policies as transparent as possible for our customers.
I also understand that you wish to begin Court action but I must advise you that this is our final position in this matter.
I am sorry that I cannot offer you a more favourable response, however, we apply these policies to be fair to all of our customers that have been affected in the same way and it is not possible to make an exception in this case.